Usually he jots down ‘Performer / Writer’.
“It depends what I’m working on at the time,” he explains.
“But I believe if you go beyond one slash between two descriptors, you turn into a wanker automatically. You can only have one slash: actor / musician or writer / performer. If you have two, no-one in Customs gives a shit. And rightly so.”
The suitably-dubbed Perfect (yes it’s his real name) acts, sings, plays piano, writes songs and writes plays, some of which is on show as Mick Holland in Offspring.
Tonight he returns to the show after several weeks off, largely due to his own commitments.
“I had a bunch of writing projects to get out of the way, so it worked out well. But the way season 4 ended it was pretty simple, I hope. (Mick’s) always been going to London,” he suggests.
“But I’m doing the last 4 episodes.
“You have to go away to ‘come back’ as they say in showbiz. But it’s been good. If I don’t prioritise writing it doesn’t happen.”
Last year his play The Beast was staged by the Melbourne Theatre Company. His musical comedy Shane Warne: The Musical won the 2009 Helpmann Award for Best New Australian Work. Now he’s writing a TV comedy.
“I can happily switch between ideas because you can keep more irons in the fire with scriptwriting,” says Perfect.
“It’s good but f***ing stressful and an organisational nightmare. There’s the work itself which is pretty hectic. But there are deadlines, casting, workshopping, signing off on the artwork, publicity –I probably unfairly call them ‘mountains of bullshit’ but every project has them.
“They’re all vital to the work but it isn’t the creation of the actual project.
“If I get to the end of the year and I haven’t created something of my own I get pretty antsy.”
Offspring was his first ongoing series role, but it fits nicely into his calendar year and it remains a show of which he is immensely proud.
“I have the luxury with this job of just turning up, saying the words, wearing the clothes, eating the sandwiches, going home and not worrying about it –which is really awesome. It’s good to have one thing in the year that you don’t have ‘responsibility’ for beyond just performing. To remember what it’s like to be an actor. So I’m very grateful. All care and no responsibility on Offspring is good,” he admits.
“In Offspring there are scenes where you are required to put in a lot of thought, a lot of yourself, a lot of investment in the scene. But there are other scenes where you don’t have to push too hard.
“There are scenes where you’re not going for the Gold Logie, so you don’t have to chew the furniture. It’s nice that you’re in a long-running show and you can just relax about it. You don’t have to make every post a winner, which I really enjoy about Offspring.”
A television role also means is more readily-recognised as a performer, but rarely has it been problematic.
“Because Offspring is really well-loved there’s never any weirdness. Nobody’s ever nasty or mean. I’ve only said no to a photo once, and I felt terrible about it but I had a really good reason. I was on the phone to my wife after my daughter had an accident at gymnastics,” he recalls.
“They looked at me like I was making an excuse, but I was really worried!”
He also came in for criticism after an untimely tweet for a show he was performing with Tripod hit social media on the same night as Patrick’s (Matt le Nevez) death.
“We employed this guy to advertise the show via Facebook. I’m pretty technologically deficient but somehow those posts got synchronised with Twitter. He posted an ad tweeting that we were performing right at the moment that Patrick died! I didn’t know because I was on holidays in Byron Bay,” he recalls.
“So then I had all these tweets saying ‘How dare you capitalise on Patrick’s death!’ I was like, ‘What???’
“It wasn’t me, and it was also a freaky timing thing.
“So I was giving news.com.au a few articles for a while!”
Alas, such awkward moments come with the territory of a broad TV hit show. But it’s a small price to pay.
“I look at Australian television shows and I think this show is easily one of the best on TV for representing how modern Australians navigate their way through life. So that’s what motivates me.”
Offspring airs 8:30pm tonight on TEN.